Tuesday poem: Roll up! Leap through!

July 29, 2013


Roll up! Leap through!

Outside, beyond the neon tights, the paisley
sequinned flares of the artistes, tracing
such rococo knots in the canvas sky,
waits a lion called Frank, the last of his kind.
Tastes have changed, and lion-taming,
with such clear-cut rules of whip and chair,
has become passé, so yesterday.
The sententious prescripts of the pure —
that modern hygiene of the mind —
sweep scuddy sawdust aside like lice,
and draw a line through bear and lion.
So Frank, mane beige and moulting, lives
a most solitary life, a stuck record repeating
the rank smells of piss and popcorn,
the hooplah! and the swish of knives,
carving the air like a Sunday roast
around the tasty ribs of Madam Frisson.
She is just as bored and trapped as he
as she awaits her husband’s swinging arm,
as sensitive as a brass metronome.
Soon Frank will be too shabby, even for this
ring of superannuated fantasy.
No scrubby savannah of reconciliation,
no release for a circus-bred beast,
into a sudden pride of compliance.
Just the screams from the audience
at the trapeze and the squirt-flowery gambit
of painted clown. His dreams are smeared
with a thin imagined relish of gazelle,
as he bobs and bobs that shameful mane.
Soon, though, the final bob; the final doze.
He’ll leap, ungoaded, through the hoop of death
onto who knows what plains, what deer-rich grass?

P.S. Cottier
bigstock_Kitten_And_Books_107820

This is another poem written in response to a prompt, or in this case, ten prompts. The Canadian journal Contemporary Verse 2 has a yearly competition where they post a list of ten words, and the poets (who must have enrolled previously) have 48 hours to create a poem which must contain each of those words. Loads of fun, and some of the successful works are terrific. Hop over to Canada for a look. I just noticed that they used a little snippet of my poem on the introductory page for the competition. Which is nice to see.

I didn’t win however; hence the posting, but I quite like the poem.

(I had a slightly bigger cat in mind than the overly cute thing in the photo, by the way…)

Click this feather and fly to New Zealand, after your return from Canada, to read more poetry:
Tuesday Poem

Incidentally, Janis Freegard is featuring another poem by me about a creature that sometimes bites: the smiley emoticon. Here’s the link. Thanks Janis!

4 Responses to “Tuesday poem: Roll up! Leap through!”

  1. Geoff said

    ‘a thin imagined relish of gazelle’ … sits translucent in the glow of the dying sun … thank you for that little transport away from what was otherwise occupying my mind 🙂

  2. Somehow, although it describes something unpleasant, the line: “the rank smells of piss and popcorn” has a wonderful assonance.

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